This day started early for me. The alarm went off at 4:50 so I could start work at 5, 7 a.m. Eastern Time. It was a little challenging to work the first few hours, listening to Grandmother snore and Tim rustle about in the bed. Grandmother did wash her hair first thing in the morning, and Tim played room service clerk by bringing us both breakfast. After breakfast, Grandmother made some phone calls and Tim read while I continued hunched over my laptop. After checkout, I continued work in the lobby of the hotel where Grandmother found a comfy chair to enjoy her book, and Tim headed to town to explore a bit.
At the close of my work day at 1, we headed to a small restaurant on the edge of Keystone for lunch, and then headed to check out the Crazy Horse monument before heading northwest toward Billings. We were too cheap to pay the $28 admission fee to see the monument, so when we got to the gate, we asked the man if there was a place to turn around once inside the gate. He sighed and pointed a little further down the entrance to a turnaround. I think he knew we wanted to get a little closer to take a picture without paying the fee… which we shamelessly did. Not only did we take pictures, but we also got out binoculars to gawk a bit more. We probably did one of the longest turnarounds in history. 😉
We drove for quite a while through the Black Hills National Forest, which we all enjoyed. The pines and huge rock facings were beautiful. We were surprised, however, to find ourselves on a dirt road for a few miles due to construction. We had been talking yesterday about the early settlers coming across the plains in wagons, and I said that was the closest we would probably come to recreating that experience. 😉
Once we were out of the Black Hills, we dipped into Wyoming before we hit the Montana state lane. Tim remarked on how amazing the drastic landscape changes were from South Dakota into Wyoming. He added that he felt like “Oregon Trail” prepared him for the varied terrain and the perils we might face as we traversed through the open land.
We continued to enjoy the changing scenery for the rest of the day as we moved through Wyoming and into Montana. Thanks to Tim’s full bladder, we came upon the site where the Battle of Little Big Horn began. The entire place was closed down, and Tim had to resort to a port-o-potty, but it was a happy discovery all the same.
We continued listening to The Mysterious Island (though what is mysterious about the island is still unclear to us after listening for five and a half hours!). Grandmother enjoyed a few games of solitaire on her Kindle as she listened. 😉
We’re now cozied up at another Choice hotel; Grandmother gets her own room here! We discovered that the hotel has a water park, and I told Grandmother she should call Glenna in the morning and tell her to come on over with her swimsuit.
Stories from the road:
On drinking water in Mexico: Grandmother told us about the case of Montezuma’s Revenge she experienced at the end of the family trip cross-county because she ordered iced tea at a restaurant in Mexico. Grandfather had been so careful to make sure the kids only got Cokes out and drank only water he provided from their trailer. He didn’t keep an eye out for his wife, though!
On girlhood play time: The Meadow River Lumber Company where Grandmother’s dad worked made wooden heels for high heels. The little girls in the neighborhood would get these wooden heels and hook them to their feet using canning elastics, and they’d march around playing dress up and putting on little plays. They would try to charge a penny admission into their plays, but people often didn’t have a penny, so they tried charging matches. She said she wasn’t sure why they thought of matches or what they were going to do with them, but it seemed better than letting people into their plays for free.
On the last trip to Israel: We got to talking about the excellent blog Aaron composed during their trip to Israel and Grandmother shared stories about the Baptist minister and a 400 pound woman getting on a camel. She laughed so hard and so did we! She enjoyed reminiscing about what a good trip that was.
I’m on the clock again from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. tomorrow, so Grandmother will head to Glenna’s solo, and Tim and I will come over after I finish work. After a little visit with Glenna, we’ll head southwest to Yellowstone!